– Theatre Report
Despite efforts by former President John Mahama-led NDC government to tackle corruption, concerns were mounted on him that he and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) had failed miserably to stamp out the practice and that his continuing in power as President will damage the country’s international reputation and, ultimately, its economy.
“Corruption has been a major concern for Ghana for many years now. This is reflected in Ghana’s consistently poor performance in all benchmark international rankings of business environment as well as anecdotal evidence such as the fact that discharging contaminated fuel on Ghanaian territory costs less around two times as much as it does in other markets.
“While corruption and problems within business environments are common across the world emerging markets, Ghana appears to have a particularly bad reputation.
Transparency International, an organization that measures perceptions of corruption worldwide, ranked Ghana 2nd out of over 50 countries on its Corruption Perception Index in 2016/2017, the lead against Nigeria and other populated countries.
Over the last four years, the country continuously also ranked poorly on the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey; when “ease of doing business” was considered, it reportedly came 73 out of 185 countries.
State-owned corporations and government agencies have historically played a huge role in the Ghanaian economy. Many have also been plagued by systemic mismanagement, inefficiency, and corruption.
It was among these national and international perceptions on corruption that, Nana Akufo-Addo, then Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), took the opportunity to act as an anti-corruption specialist who was prepared to rescue Ghana from the comity of corrupt nations.
The whitewashing phrases by some media persons and distinguished Ghanaians, including former President Jerry John Rawlings, on the character of now President Nana Akufo-Addo, collectively propelled the Ghanaian voters to swing their voting rights to the NPP to form the next government at the 2016 general elections.
Notable cases of corruption that the then NPP used to incite Ghanaians against the then NDC government were Woyome, Subah, SADA, Bus Branding and GYEEDA (YEA) sagas, among other allegations labeled against individual actions and inaction.
Former President John Mahama suffered systematic buzzing and boozing from Ghanaians for accepting a Ford Expedition gift from a Burkina Faso-based contractor, who won a contract from the government to build some roads in the country.
Soon after taking office, President Nana Akufo-Addo dissolved the governing boards of almost all state-owned corporations and government agencies. He also sacked unlawfully heads of state enterprises and agencies perceived to be sympathetic to the NDC party, including those whose tenures of office are protected by the 1992 Constitution through the Public Services Commission and took direct control of decision-making.
In February 2017, he dismissed over 30,000 staff workers of various agencies and over 200 heads of corporate bodies and agencies, especially the COCOBOD, Youth Employment Agency (YEA), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Driver and Vehicles Licensing Authority (DVLA), the National Passport Office, among others.
The biggest touted reason for the sporadic dismissal of heads and staff of government agencies employed by the previous government was that, the Nana Addo government intends to tackle corruption in the system and therefore needed to weed out all persons whose appointment was done legally by the previous government, including the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC).
In addition, the excuse at the centre was that the Nana Addo led NPP government doesn’t want to hear tales of entrenched corruption. Retail Corruption would certainly appear to have come down. But as at eight months, has Retail Corruption disappeared?
According to the United Nations economic policies document, the simplest definition of corruption is that, “Corruption is the misuse of public power (by elected politician or appointed civil servant) for private gain.”
In order to ensure that not only public corruption but also private corruption between individuals and businesses could be covered by the same simple definition, it added that, “Corruption is the misuse of entrusted power (by heritage, education, marriage, election, appointment or whatever else) for private gain.”
This broader definition covers not only the politician and the public servant, but also the CEO and CFO of a company, the notary public, the team leader at a workplace, the administrator or admissions officer to a private school or hospital, the coach of a soccer team, among others.
Other economists argue that, corruption is an improbity or decay in the decision-making process in which a decision-maker consents to deviate or demands deviation from the criterion which should rule his or her decision-making, in exchange for a reward or for the promise or expectation of a reward, while these motives influencing his or her decision-making cannot be part of the justification of the decision.
With the much touted anti-corruptible Akufo-Addo government, it was expected that nothing, like the misuse of public power, would ever be traced in his government, but that certainly cannot be said.
Corruption has now been reduced to not only a retail business but a table-top business with all kinds of person(s) far and near President Akufo Addo government being accused by persons within the same government or party to have engaged in.
Ken Agyepong Revelations
Outspoken and controversial Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyapong, has made his resolve to continue criticising and exposing the corrupt New Patriotic Party as he stated he cannot sit by and watch “NPP follow the path of the National Democratic Congress.”
With Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana, having spent barely nine months in office, Kennedy Agyapong has been one of the in-party voices in the NPP who have been consistently critical about some of the actions of the party leaders.
The acerbic Member of Parliament for Assin Central says “The President should watch the people he has surrounded himself with.”
According to Kennedy Agyapong, on the Accra-based radio station Oman FM, Duke Ofori-Attah and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko are two of such individuals who are leveraging their closeness to Nana Addo to engage in corrupt and damaging activities.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, he alleged, is leveraging their closeness to Nana Addo, stating, that it was the corrupt activities of individuals like Ibrahim Mahama of the NDC, left unchecked, which led to John Dramani Mahama’s historic defeat in the 2016 General Elections.
“If NDC had been bold and condemned the likes of Ibrahim Mahama and Randy Abbey they wouldn’t have found themselves in opposition,” Kennedy Agyapong explained.
He said Gabby takes on table-top not less than GHS30,000 from individuals in order to grant or facilitate such persons audience to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, just barely nine months in office.
A-Plus Anger on Corruption
Vociferous musician and satirist, Kwame Asare Obeng, widely known as A Plus, has labelled Francis Asenso-Boakye and Samuel Abu Jinapor, deputies to the Chief of Staff, as stupid and corrupt appointees of the President.
In a Facebook post, A Plus, who declared his support for then candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the 2016 electioneering campaign and contributed to the victory of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) through his craft, wondered why the two personalities were appointed to serve in government.
While commending the Akufo-Addo administration for a good job done since assumption of office, A Plus stated unequivocally that, Messrs Asenso-Boakye and Abu Jinapor are “thieves, arrogant, corrupt and stupid, hence, do not merit the appointment.”
“NPP delegates’ congress…. 7 months of NPP government. So far, so good except appointing some very corrupt officials, including the two very stupid deputy chiefs of staff. It’s amazing how Nana was able to appoint thieves whose level of stupidity is the same. Arrogant and corrupt fools. You think you’ll be in power forever. Even John Mahama I was not afraid of him then you,” his post read.
The revelation by Ken Agyepong and A-Plus are just a few of the deep-seated corruption of the present NPP government and are just in the early days of the government.
Under President John Mahama, the government did made overt moves to combat corruption and perceptions that Ghana is not fit for foreign business.
The $2.25 billion bond issued by Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance and cousin of President Akufo-Addo, to his business partner, Trevor Trefgarne of Franklin Templeton Investment and the 5 million litre contaminated fuel to an unlicensed company by BOST are other smelly deals of corruption under Nana Addo.
The president says one thing, his appointees and family members do other things are evidently clear that, the fight against corruption is a mere political rhetoric and not actionable.
The setting up of a Special Prosecution office to deal with corrupt officials may reduce to witch hunting of political opponents, while the appointees milk the state to the detriment of the ordinary person on the street, especially the voter.
The Akufo-Addo government is clearly very not concerned about Ghana’s corruption problem, particularly given the backdrop of the recent disinterestedness or slowdown in action against the BOST Boss, and the need to investigate Gabby and Messrs Abu Jinapor and Asenso-Boakye would meekly reduce corruption to a table-top business at the Flagstaff House under Akufo-Addo government.
If corruption comes down, the open, transparent funding of the ruling party would go up. The logic is simple. Parties need lots of money to fund campaigns.
Therefore, the flow of unaccounted money to party coffers has only gone up. Corruption, in other words, cannot cease to be visible, but remains potent under NPP, like the stealth bomber.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Felix Engsalige Nyaaba